Page images
[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]


THE sources from which this work has been drawn have necessarily been exceedingly various. It was in fact originally intended to be actually composed by different writers, as in the instance of the valuable contribution which, in addition to his kind assistance throughout, has been furnished to the earlier part by Mr. Justice Coleridge ; and although, in its present shape, the responsibility of arranging and executing it has fallen upon one person, yet it should still be clearly understood how largely I have availed myself of the aid of others, in order to supply the defects of my own personal knowledge of Dr. Arnold's life and character, which was confined to the intercourse I enjoyed with him, first as his pupil at Rugby, from 1829 to 1834, and thenceforward, on more familiar terms, to the end of his life.

To his family, I feel that the fewest words will best express my sense, both of the confidence which they reposed in me by entrusting to my care so precious a charge, and of the manifold kindness with which they have assisted me, as none others could. To the many attached friends of his earlier years, the occurrence of whose names in the following pages makes it unnecessary to mention them more particularly here, I would also take this opportunity of expressing my deep obligations, not only for the readiness with which they have given me access to all letters and information that I could require, but still more for the active interest which they have taken in lightening my responsibility and labour, and for the careful and most valuable criticism to which some of them have allowed me to subject the whole or the greater part of this work. Lastly, his pupils will perceive the unsparing use I have made of their numerous contributions. I had at one time thought of indicating the various distinct authorities from which the chapter on his “School Life at Rugby” has been compiled, but I found that this would be impracticable. The names of some of those who have most aided me will be found in the Correspondence. To those many others, who are not there mentioned --and may I here be allowed more especially to name my younger schoolfellows, with whom I have become acquainted chiefly through the means of this work, and whose recollections, as being the most recent and the most lively, have been amongst the most valuable that I have received I would here express my warmest thanks for the more than assistance which they have rendered me. Great as has been the anxiety and difficulty of this undertaking, it has been relieved by nothing so much as the assurance which I have received through their cooperation, that I was not mistaken in the estimate I had formed of our common friend and master, and that the influence of his teaching and example continues and will continue to produce the fruits which he would most have desired to see.

The Correspondence has been selected from the mass of letters preserved, in inany cases, in almost unbroken series from first to last. One large classthose to the parents of his pupils,—I have been unable to procure, and possibly they could not have been made available for the present work. Another numerous body of letters—those which were addressed to scientific or literary men on questions connected with his edition of Thucydides or his History,—I have omitted, partly as thinking them too minute to occupy space wanted for subjects of more general importance; partly because their substance or their results have for the most part been incorporated into his published works. To those which appear in the present collection, something of a fragmentary character has been imparted by the necessary omission, wherever it was possible, of repetitions, such as must necessarily occur in letters written to different persons at the same time,-of allusions which would have been painful to living individuals,- of domestic details, which, however characteristic, could not have been published without a greater infringement on privacy than is yet possible, —of passages which, without further explanation than could be given, would certainly have been misunderstood. Still, enough remains to give in his own words, and in his own manner, what he thought and felt on the subjects of most interest to him. And though the mode of expression must be judged by the relation in which he stood to those whom he ad

dressed, and with the usual and just allowance for the familiarity and unreservedness of epistolary intercourse, yet, on the whole, the Letters represent (except where they correct themselves) what those who knew him best believe to have been his deliberate convictions and his habitual feelings.

The object of the Narrative has been to state so much as would enable the reader to enter upon the Letters with a correct understanding of their writer in his different periods of life, and his different sphere of action. In all cases where it was possible, his opinions and plans have been given in his own words, and in no case, whether in speaking of what he did or intended to do, from mere conjecture of my own or of any one else. Wherever the narrative has gone into greater detail, as in the chapter on his “ School Life at Rugby,” it has been where the Letters were comparatively silent, and where details alone would give to those who were most concerned a true representation of his views and actions.

In conclusion, it will be obvious that to have mixed up any judgment of my own, either of praise or censure, with the facts or the statements contained in this work, would have been wholly irrelevant. The only question which I have allowed myself to ask in each particular act or opinion that has come before me, has been not whether I approved or disapproved of it, but whether it was characteristic of him. To have assumed the office of a judge, in addition to that of a narrator or editor, would have increased the responsibility, already great, a hundredfold; and in the present case, the vast importance of many of the questions discussed—the insufficient time and

« PreviousContinue »